Roundup: What does an Accountant Do? Ask the Experts!

Accountants play a pivotal role in the finance and accounting department in every business sector. They thoroughly maintain and organize financial records for businesses, enabling them to stay on top of their accounting world. Accountants can assist you with maintaining transactional records to filing taxes for your business organization seamlessly. They ensure that your tax season is stress-free without any penalties from the IRS.

We have discussed with the industry experts concerning the major role of accountants and what they do, which are as follows:

Clarissa Wilson

Clarissa Wilson is a financial strategist and online business bookkeeper who absolutely loves helping online business owners to be able to keep track of their business finances.

I honestly think it depends on what kind of accountant you are talking about, as there are different types of accountants. I am both an auditor and a bookkeeper. My background is in forensic accounting, which I absolutely love and I use my abilities to help my clients with their business finances.

As an accountant, I dig into the finances of a business and help my clients create a strategy with their business money so that they can make the most of their profit in their business. I look for patterns that they are making to see if they are spending money because they are making an investment in their business that they actually need to make, or if they are spending money because they need to spend it to feel good or because of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Riley Adams

Riley Adams is a licensed CPA in the state of Louisiana and working as a Senior Financial Analyst at a tech company in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have a personal finance blog dedicated to helping young professionals find financial independence at Young and the Invested.

Accountants speak the language of business and finance by properly recording all transactions occurring for the business and reporting them through financial statements. Their keen sense for documentation also provides support for these numbers and assurance that they are accurate.

In one example, accountants also report accruals or those monies which are anticipated to be received or disbursed as future revenue or liabilities, respectively. By tracking the likelihood of those cash flows, companies can better forecast their cash needs in their budgets and operate their businesses more efficiently. Accountants make assumptions based on the likelihood of these accruals coming in, and this flows through the company’s financial decisions and into the financial plan.

Logan Allec

Logan Allec is a CPA and owner of the personal finance website *Money Done Right*

There are a variety of accountants, so it’s tough to give a definite answer to what accountants do. To simply put across, I can tell you specifically about the things I have done in my career as a CPA:

Accountants Using Spreadsheets

When people hear that I’m an accountant, they assume that I’m really good at math. I can see where this misconception comes from, given that accountants work with numbers. They’re really good at Microsoft Excel rather than math!

Accountants Write a Lot

I’ve written a lot of content being an accountant. Examples include writing emails to clients on a daily basis explaining complex tax or accounting issues in a language which they can understand, drafting memos documenting tax positions, and writing instructions to others on my team so they can do their jobs better.

While it’s true that some people in the broader accounting profession such as bookkeepers probably don’t do very much writing, most accountants do more writing than one might think.

Accountants Work in Teams

For many people, the word accountant strikes an image of someone working alone in a cubicle, pecking at their keyboard and ten-key calculator for eight hours a day and not speaking a word to anyone else.

While that may be the reality for some low-level clerical accounting positions, this was never true for me. I was always working in teams to get projects done, and I enjoyed it.

Ben Watson

Ben Watson, CPA, is the virtual CFO of DollarSprout.com and founder of Fiscal Fluency, a personal finance and business coaching company.

An accountant’s role can be as wide and varied as their own personality (and no, they’re not all introverted numbers geeks). But a common starting point is their task of preparing, examining, and interpreting financial records. This helps the business owners and managers determine which strategic maneuvers to pursue towards their goals.

By keeping the numbers accurate, accountants often have a key role in determining whether the business is truly doing well or not, despite what the outward appearance shows. They’re also integral to ensuring tax records are prepared and filed correctly, so the government is paid their correct share within the deadlines and avoid any penalties and fines.

By speaking the “language of business” as it’s often referred to, accountants us the financial data to communicate the company’s position to both internal managers and external shareholders and creditors.

Rob Stephens

Rob Stephens is the Founder of CFO Perspective, where he provides CFO-level financial consulting and education to small businesses.

People often miss the true meaning of an accountant. Many people think first of the word count in the word accountant. It’s true that accountants develop strong processing skills for detail-oriented tasks. Yes, we are good with numbers. The broader task of accountants is to provide an account of the performance of the company. We tell stories with numbers rather than words. We are the credible information source that owners, managers, and the government rely on.

Larry Simmons

Larry Simmons is the President & CEO for Business & Financial Solutions, Inc. Before founding Business & Financial Solutions in 2002, Mr. Simmons worked for Deloitte and Touché as the Director of Government Contracting and Nonprofit Services.

What an accountant does covers a large range of territory? However, every accountant does not necessarily have expertise or knowledge of all these areas. The knowledge base for accountants may range from general accounting to project accounting, audits, taxation, business plans, forensics, etc.

It should not be assumed that because an accountant is good in one area, that he or she has mastered every area of accounting. However, the basic concept is that we follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) in all our work. Accountants may create or review the books for a business, and make certain that the books show accuracy and integrity to outside reviewers. After all, tax returns will have to be prepared for the business later. The numbers for the return are a direct reflection of the financial statements.

Marina Babaian

Marina Babaian is a CPA and Founder and CEO of Mbridge Consulting Group, a Woman-Owned business and consulting firm that provides accounting, payroll, and business management services to start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses.

Accountants are the backbone of your business. They speak a different language; one which most of the people don’t instinctively understand. When thinking of an accountant the first thing that comes to mind is either tax or audit however accountants convert your business transactions into easily understandable reports.

Accountants give businesses financial clarity and progress reports about how their business is doing. For example, say a company has 2 million in revenue. An accountant helps understand if this revenue is profitable. What cost drivers are burning your revenue and what changes can be made to increase your revenue. They probably understand your business model better than the business owner, and in order to be successful, you need to have someone on your team that understands finances.

Pratibha Vuppuluri

Pratibha Vuppuluri is the Chief Blogger at She Started It, an online resource guide for working moms. Pratibha has more than ten years of experience in the financial service industry, including seven years in the Healthcare, Private Equity Secondary Market, and Technology Investment Banking space at both UBS and Deutsche Bank.

An accountant is someone who ensures that his or her client – be it a company, business, or organization — is operating efficiently by checking the client’s financial records.

Part of an accountant’s job is to analyze financial reports, budgets, data, accounting records, as well as tax returns.

 

Bottom line

I hope the above-mentioned contribution of experts will give you a better picture of what accountants do in any organization.